Molly Naylor has been busy mastering the art of storytelling and 'If Destroyed Still True' draws upon all that she’s learned. Following her well-received 2013 show 'My Robot Heart', Molly has paired up with musician Iain Ross to relay the interwoven tales of this new Edinburgh-bound show, whilst also getting involved with some live instrumentation and singing herself.
The piece is built around Molly's unexpected and cringeworthy encounter with a girl she used to go to school with - the sickeningly popular 'Miranda Webb'. Having had to make a split-second decision whether to speak to her or to hide from her, she chose the latter. Here's the rub: the encounter was in a sauna. This proved an amusing place to start the show’s entertaining study of Molly’s dysfunctional relationship with her teenage self. Soon, the audience is submerged into the encounter's aftermath - an unhealthy Facebook 'friendship' with Miranda Webb built on a whose-life-is-better-now battle in Molly's head in which her trump card is, “I've met Suggs”. Molly tells of her time spent mentally counteracting Miranda's offensively un-ironic status updates and domestic Sunday “#bliss” tweets with her own mocking offerings, such as, “sat in my pants, staring at a wall, eating Skips! #bliss”.
Running aside all of this is a touching, fictional story about a 15-year old called Jane, whose house is being eroded by the sea. Jane is also dealing with her parent’s break-up, her Mum's mental health issues and all the normal teenage anxieties. The music (electric guitars, plenty of singing and the occasional bit of drumming) helps to transport the audience from story to story, and works well for building tension and enhancing other emotions at key points.
Iain Ross also delivers a fair amount of dead-pan hilarity with his teenage Michael Stipe obsession and his drifting recollection of a fantasy teenage party where guests include Ally Sheedy from The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller. Aptly, a bit of Simple Minds is launched into momentarily before a surreal image of Iain at sixteen is conjured in which he's urinating in a ditch (whilst being observed by a horse), accompanied by the equally surreal soundtrack of heavy-metal versions of Kylie and Jason songs.
'If Destroyed Still True' is an enjoyable show from start to finish, and the collaboration shows great originality. There’s something remarkably brave and honest in the work of Molly Naylor, both in her chosen subject matters and in her writing. She explores parts of human nature that people are not always proud of, and she communicates in a way that people can relate to. A feeling of intimacy with the audience is often created in her performances and there was an air of connectedness present in the room as this show ended with some unanticipated, REM-based audience participation.
Photography: George Dallimore
More information on 'If Destroyed Still True' and Molly Naylor: MollyNaylor.com